The lingering faith in forcing measures is a hold-over from the time we still had faith in the drugs of the physician. When we lost our faith in his poisons, we adopted a heterogeneous array of drugless measures that are intended to force the body to do what we, in our almost infallible wisdom, think it should do under the circumstances. Hence, we find many advocates of fasting employing in conjunction with it, many measures that are intended to force the body to disgorge.
The one great "need" that is so frequently stressed is that of increased elimination. For example, Prof. Levanzin says that "it is important to remember that all avenues of elimination should be constantly open during a long fast--that the system may have a chance to cleanse and invigorate itself by throwing out a mass of impurities. Enemas, deep breathing exercises, frequent baths, proper water-drinking, etc.--all these are essential and greatly assist in the cleansing of the organism and the shortening of the fast." He advocated the use of the Turkish bath while fasting because of the mistaken assumption that sweating, thus induced, constitutes an eliminating process.
Dr. Hazzard had the thought that in "organic disease of more than ordinary degree," it is "virtually certain that the avenues of elimination will prove inadequate to exacted demands" in a long fast. The thought is inherent in this statement that fasting overburdens the eliminating organs, if they are weak. Yet she says that "autointoxication takes place more often when feeding than when fasting."
The chief fault I find with Mr. Carrington's monumental work on fasting is the fact that he strongly urges forcing measures--enemas, sweatings, excessive water-drinking, exercise, hydrotherapy, etc. He thinks that by the use of these forcing measures the fast may be shortened and recovery may be effected in cases in which it may otherwise be impossible. His insistence upon exercise while fasting is based on the thought that exercise stimulates the excretory organs. He thinks that those who take more exercise while fasting will be able to totally eliminate bodily impurities more rapidly. This was also Macfadden's view. Carrington said that those who exercise most will terminate their fast soonest. I would say that they will be forced to terminate their fast soonest, and often prematurely, because of the more rapid exhaustion of their reserves.
All of these forcing measures are not only unnecessary and futile, but they constitute a heavy drain upon the energies and substances of the fasting organism. All forms of stimulation are enervating and the more they are used the more enervation they produce. The activities of the organs of elimination are in keeping with the amount of functional energy with which they are supplied and all efforts to keep them "constantly active" in spite of a lack of energy, only renders them less able to act. For, everything that we appear to gain in the increased activity occasioned by the forcing measures, we lose in the inevitable reaction. Every new source of enervation becomes an actual check to elimination. Our efforts should all be directed to the end of conserving the energies and reserves of the patient in every possible way, and not to dissipating them as rapidly as possible. Rest, quiet, poise, warmth--these are far more important than any method of treatment ever devised.
Mr. Carrington, himself, in dealing with drug stimulants, urged the necessity of refraining from them and pointed out that the weaker the organism, the greater the necessity of doing nothing. It is strange that he should abandon this principle in dealing with the drugless stimulants. These various drugless stimulants may be as wasteful of the body's energies as drugs. The sweat bath, the hot bath, the cold bath, the alternate hot and cold bath, the salt rub, massage, etc., are all very wasteful of the patient's precious energies. The same is true of the enema and the gastric lavage.
The reader is well aware that I do not approve of the chaotic mass of nonsense that is called drugless medicine. The methods of treatment employed by drugless practitioners are especially to be avoided during the fast. I could hardly do better at this place than to quote the following from Purinton: "The Conquest Fast doesn't harmonize with the Kneipp Water Cure, or the Macfadden School of Physical Culture, or any other regime that demands large expenditure of energy and vitality. These methods may be ever so good--they are not timely.
"I knew a man that had chronic rheumatism. He consulted a Fasting specialist, and stopped eating, began to feel better, wondered if he couldn't be improving faster--consulted a Turkish Bath specialist; and began bathing. Presently he died. Then each specialist declared the other had killed the patient."
The fasting individual should conserve his or her energies and not permit them to be dissipated by depleting--stimulating and depressing--treatments. Too often fasting has been held responsible for the results of the Blitzguss, frequent massage, spinal manipulation and other forms of drugless hocus pocus.
The actions of the body in relation to drugs are more prompt and vigorous when fasting than when eating. Due to this fact, fasting usually compels one to abandon his accustomed drug habits. The nervous system of the faster becomes more acute and also relatively larger than when eating. For these reasons the resistance to drugs is more prompt and vigorous. It is always more dangerous to use drugs when fasting than at other times. Drugs are bad at all times; the faster especially should avoid them.